It is known worldwide that plastic is harmful for all living beings and their environment. Yet, if we dig in deeper, we aren’t aware of the extent of damage it does to us and our environment. We are surrounded by plastic wherever we go. From boxes to toys to bottles, plastics are everywhere. Plastic leeches harmful chemical compounds like BPA (Bisphenola A) which alters the hormonal function, vinyl chloride which is a human carcinogen and many other chemical compounds that not only affect health but also human development and behaviour.
Plastic and xenoestrogen: what are they?
Xenoestrogen is a chemical compound found in plastic in the form of PCBs, BPA, and phthalates. It mimics the estrogen in living organism disrupting the endocrine system and hormonal functions. That is why it is also known as EDC or Endocrine Disruptor Chemical. It affects reproduction, metabolism, neuroendocrinology and cardiovascular endocrinology.
Below listed are some of the effects of this lethal chemical
5 hormonal effects of xenoestrogen
- Chronic conditions
xenoestrogen disrupts the endocrine system by altering the hormones. This affects organs that are mainly sensitive to hormones.
- Early onset of puberty
Studies have shown that xenoestrogen leads to early onset of puberty(1)It does make sense, since it is a form of hormone. Too much of hormones in the body is bound to wreak havoc. Precocious puberty as it is also known can stunt growth as the bones mature more quickly than normal. It may also lead to social and emotional problems due to the changes occurring in the body.
- Infertility in men and women
Xenoestrogen affects the reproductive system and it is one of the main causes of polycystic ovaries. The estrogens affect the reproduction function which can lead to infertility. It has effects on men’s testes too if exposed in foetus and can cause them to be infertile.
- Thyroid Disease
Presence of additional estrogen could lead to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance means that there is more estrogen than progesterone in the body which could lead to thyroid related diseases. Weight gain, fatigue, Brain fog, fibroids, polycystic ovaries (PCOS) are just few of the reactions of estrogen imbalance.
Endocrine disrupters as xenoestrogen is also known as, not only creates hormonal imbalance, but also interferes in the processes of metabolism. The endocrine system regulates the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins and hormones stores the excess for future use. Any alteration to the hormonal process could lead to unnecessary deposit of fats which leads to obesity
These are some of the repercussion of plastic use. In today’s world, use of plastic has become unavoidable however we can do the best we can to avoid it as much as we can.
Some of the precautions to take
- Do not microwave food in plastic container
- Avoid keeping plastic water bottle out in the sun
- Crush mineral water bottles or any plastic bottles after use
- Avoid using plastic utensils and use ceramic, steel etc instead
- Avoid wrapping food in plastic
We can circumvent many health issues by only stopping the use of plastic. So, let us work towards keeping ourselves and our environment healthy and safe. Say no to Plastic